This baked brisket with onions and tomatoes is perfect for any Jewish holiday, but it’s been the center of our Passover table for generations. The beef is stuffed with whole cloves of garlic and then slow cooked in the oven with caramelized onions. It really is the best brisket you will ever eat.
When we were at the height of COVID, we gathered for the Seder on Zoom. Aside from my family, the item I missed the most was the Passover brisket, which seemed silly to only be for two.
My Aunt Jennifer is responsible for most of my formative memories of Brisket and most of my positive experiences of Passover. The highlights of the family dinner were always the many chairs that were added year after year to accommodate the new additions to the table; my unbeaten record in the Afikomen; Cousin Holly’s Chocolate Chip Macarons; and my aunt’s breast, which we would all long for after two hours of bitter herbs, hard-boiled eggs and plague.
Passover has always been one of my favorite Jewish holidays, but in college I didn’t always make it back to Aunt Jenn’s in CT. In my junior year, I was stuck in school and decided to host a Seder myself. My friend Jamie provided the prayer books and lots of matzo. Jillian made her mother’s potatoes. And I’ve provided the brisket.
Deviating from my aunt’s famous dish felt a little odd, but I managed to fill the buffet table with a respectable, if not perfectly perfect, piece of soft, slow-cooked meat, thanks to Mr. Emeril Lagasse’s goyim influence .
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to revive my recipe that was once a staple on my old blog, Big Girls Small Kitchen (can’t believe that and my first cookbook were published over 10 years ago!).
If you saw last week’s post, you know I’m digging through my own archives from a decade ago. This recipe definitely stands the test of time, although SIBO amigos will marvel at the ingredient list – I haven’t used that much onion and garlic in a while!
My husband was also thrilled to see ketchup back in the fridge. I used an organic brand and was concerned that without the chemicals it would lack some flavor. But luckily it held up. Since I am more sensitive to sugar now, I have reduced the amount added. And if I make it again, I might even experiment with eliminating it altogether and see what the ketchup does on its own.
The result is the best Passover breast you’ll ever eat: moist, perfectly flavorful and sweet with a slight kick. Stuffing the meat with garlic cloves is my favorite part. This was the technique inspired by Emeril. They melt away completely at the end, but make the sauce and the meat all the more aromatic.
If you’re looking for more Passover recipes to round out the Seder table, I have plenty of gluten-free desserts in my archives that may be perfect for you. You can’t go wrong with flourless peanut butter cookies!
Read on for the best Passover Brisket recipe! See you next year in Jerusalem…or at least at our relatives’ house.
With health and hedonism,
The best Passover brisket
This baked brisket with onions and tomatoes is perfect for any Jewish holiday, but it’s been the center of our Passover table for generations. I made this version inspired by Emeril’s brisket for my Seder table, and I can honestly say it’s the best Passover brisket you’ll ever eat: moist, perfectly flavorful, and sweet with a slight kick. Stuffing the meat with garlic cloves is my favorite part – they melt away completely at the end, but make the sauce and meat that much more flavorful. That little touch and the homemade caramelized onions (nothing here with soup mixes) make this brisket extra special.
- A 5 pound brisket
- 8th Garlic cloves cut lengthways into 4 pieces
- 1 quart beef broth
- 2 Vidalia or sweet onions thinly sliced
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- ¼ Cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 500°F.
Place the brisket on a work surface. If the grease cap is on the thicker side (1/2 inch), scrape off a little grease leaving an even 1/4 inch layer.
Using a paring knife, make vertical incisions in the meat and insert a piece of garlic into each one. Do this until the meat is stuffed with garlic all over. Season both sides with salt and pepper and place the breast in a large Dutch oven, Dutch oven or rimmed casserole dish (metal preferably), starting fat cap up, and brown in the oven, about 10 minutes per side.
Remove the pan from the oven and pour in the beef broth (NOTE: If using a Pyrex pan, allow a few minutes for the pan to adjust to room temperature to avoid breaking it). Turn the oven down to 350 degrees, cover the bowl with a lid or foil and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and caramelized, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the meat from the oven and add the ketchup, sugar, paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne, thyme or rosemary, and bay leaves to the pan. Whisk together the beef broth with a fork. Arrange the caramelized onions on the meat. Cover the pan again with the lid or foil and place in the oven for 2-3 hours. NOTE: If you want to slice the breast, take it out after 2 hours. If you want it to fall apart, more like a pulled brisket, leave it in for the full 3.
Remove the meat from the oven and place on a cutting board. Slice the brisket against the grain. Return the meat to the sauce and serve, or refrigerate overnight—the brisket can be made a day or two in advance.
If your pan is big enough, you can add some potatoes or carrots during the cooking process at step 5 after stirring in the sauce ingredients. Keep both in fairly large chunks so they don’t overcook.